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Putin Invites Erdogan, Rohani, Abbas to Opening of Largest Mosque in Europe

REPOSTED FROM THE LATIN AMERICAN HERALD

MOSCOW – The presidents of Iran, Hassan Rohani, and Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have been invited by Russian president Vladimir Putin to attend the opening of the largest mosque in Europe on Sept. 23 in Moscow.

The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin has personally invited them to the ceremony to be held in the Russian capital, after which they are going to hold bilateral meetings.

The Council of Muftis of Russia told EFE that Putin will chair the Wednesday opening of the Grand Mosque in Moscow, which will accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers.

The mosque, which will have a space of more than 18,000 square meters and a height comparable to that of a six-story building, will open its doors on the occasion of the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice (Eid-al Adha).

The mosque was constructed on the remains of one built in 1904.

Moscow is the second city with the most Muslims in Europe after Paris, with a million and a half, between residents and migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Russia is home to about 23 million Muslims, according to the Council of Muftis, mostly in Moscow, the North Caucasus and the republics of Tatarstan and Bashkiria.

However, Putin, an avowed Orthodox Christian, has made it clear that Russia is a secular country and has stopped any attempt, for example, for Muslim girls to wear headscarves in schools.